10 Jahre Tanz der Vampire

Exactly ten year ago today, Jim Steinman and Michael Kunze’s musical Tanz der Vampire (based on Roman Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers —or— Pardon Me, But You’re Teeth Are In My Neck) premiered in the Raimud Theater in Vienna, Austria. That calls for a little celebration.

Although I’ve know of Tanz since ’97, the first time I heard some of the original music was around 2001/2002. Jim was preparing an English version for Broadway, and some demos were made available through its official website. After hearing (original Vienna Von Krolock) Steve Barton sing “Confession of a Vampire (The Insatiable Appetite)”, I knew I had to get me some more of that stuff. I quickly ordered the Vienna cast recording (which I still think is the essential album to have), and that was when it all went wrong.

After leaving Vienna, Tanz drained Stuttgart, and when it was done there, it sunk it’s teeth in Hamburg. Late 2003 plans were made for a Steinmeet. Steinman-fans from all over the world would meet up in Hamburg, and witness the splendor that is Tanz der Vampire. For me it was easy: as opposed to New York, Hamburg was budget, so I arranged a ticket, a hotel and a train ride, went and had a great time.

The next three versions I skipped. Poland didn’t do it for me, Japan was both too far and too expensive, and another German version in Berlin didn’t tickle my fancy either. But when I heard of the Hungarian version in 2007, well, I could see the humor in that. A couple of weeks after I obtained a ticket for Vámpírok Bálja a concert version to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the premiere in Vienna was announced. Quickly ordered a ticket for that one too. Both versions were great.

It’s fair to say that Tanz is by far my favorite musical. I haven’t yet seen a version that managed to disappoint me. (Well, there’s the Broadway Dance of the Vampires, but this abomination we do not speak of.) In Budapest a Korean, Belgian and Dutch version was announced. Bring it on.

Here are were some samples:

  • The one that started it all: Steve Barton – Confession of a Vampire (The Insatiable Appetite) from the Dance of the Vampires Demos
  • Once again, Steve Barton with the original Vienna cast: Tanzsaal
  • From the Polish Taniec Wampirów, Kuba Mol?da as Alfred with Dla Sary (Für Sarah)
  • From the Japanese Live Highlights, Yuichiro Yamaguchi as Von Krolock with ????? (Sei Bereit)
  • And finally, the always impressive Thomas Borgert and Marjan Shaki from the 10th Anniversary Album: Liebesduett / Totale Finsternis

The final quarter

It’s just the second day of the month, and yet my agenda is pretty much filled up until November: if all goes according to plan, my first weekend without obligations outside Amersfoort is starting on November 3rd.

This weeken, I am meeting most of the same people for the third week in a row, but this time for the monthly dinner. Tuesday November October 8th 9th I have an appointment to get my butt kicked by Dream Theater in Rotterdam, and the following day is the first (volleyball-)competition round of the season. (I’m hoping that if I skip practice once again this week, my knee should be able to handle that.) Saturday the 13th I have two birthdays. And while I probably could skip the (then) one year old’s one, it wouldn’t be entirely nice of me to skip my little brother‘s birthday, so what the heck. And then, while I still have to work some details out, I’m taking some time off. More to follow on that. And indeed, there is some work to be done inbetween.

Compared to that, November is looking pretty quiet so far. Three engagements in two theaters and once again Ahoy’ Rotterdam, and a ridiculously early Sinterklaas-party. December has just one entry besides the regular stuff everybody has to deal with. And then it’s 2008 already.

So, what are your plans for the rest of the year?

You can slice it any way you want it

Depending what side you’re on, today is either Meat Loaf’s 56th or 60th birthday. I went into that whole deal last year, so I’ll just point to that for now.

Late last year, mr. Loaf released an album that should have been titled “The Monster Is Loose”. There are many reasons why I have, to put it mildly, issues with that album, but I won’t go into that either. Lets just say that as a Meat Loaf album, it’s quite good, and as a “Bat Out of Hell” album, it falls flat on it’s face. What I would really like to talk about today, is a the shitty selection of singles from that album.

The first single was a cover of “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” , masquerading as a duet with the Marion Raven. Most people might know Céline Dion’s version which was quite a hit in 1995, but it dates back to 1989, when it was first released on Pandora’s Box’s “Original Sin” album. (You should’ve heard the stories Mr. Loaf had to come up with to address those accusations of covering a Céline Dion song.) But anyway, his version is by far my least favorite of those three. My main gripe with it is that it just doesn’t work as a duet. Miss Raven gets all of two lines in the spotlight, and for the rest of the song, she’s echoing mr. Loaf’s lines back to him. Now, that’s not a duet, or is it? And like with most of the Steinman tracks on the album, Desmond Child’s production is lacking. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t do all that well in the charts either. Sure, it hit number one in Norway, but that miss Raven’s homeland, and they’re either patriotic or biased. It made the lower half of the British and German top 10s, but other than that, modest results.

Cry Over Me“, the second and last single, was only released in the UK, six months after the release of the album, in order to gain some attention for the British leg of the “Three Bats World Tour”. I can and will be short about the reasons as to why that single made no impact whatsoever: it’s utter shite.

If you ask me, the choice for the singles was all wrong. A cover of a well know hit as lead single, and a crappy ballad as second one, released long after everybody stopped caring about “Bat 3”. What they should have done, was releasing some decent singles. The logical choices would have been “What About Love”, “The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be” (especially after duet-partner Jennifer Hudson won her Oscar) and “Blind as a Bat”. And now comes the part where you’ll all realize that this post is mostly a set up to talk about “Blind as a Bat”.

You see, for a while, “Blind as a Bat” was scheduled for release as second single. First it was planned for a December 2006 release. Promos were sent out, TV appearances were made, and then it was pushed back to February 2007, only to be pulled in favour of “Cry Over Me”. But that singled tanked, and any eventual plans for a third single went down with it. I’d say that “Blind as a Bat” has all the things the ‘regular’ public would expect from a Meat Loaf single. It’s pompously over the top, it has a massive chorus, tempo-changes all around, hell, it even has the word ‘bat’ in the title. What could anyone want more?

So, to celebrate mr. Loaf’s birthday, here’s the radio edit from “Blind as a Bat”, as well as the solo from a demo version, possibly sung by Desmond Child, featuring some alternative lyrics. (And, no, that’s all I have of it.)

Happy birthday, Meat.

What the doctor said

Depending on the correct translation, I have probably strained a tendon in my knee. And while it hurts like listening to that crapdamned ping-pong song on repeat for several days, the only remedy is to give it rest.

And while I now do have the ideal place to give it just that, you know, work and stuffs.